First foodie trip to NOLA
My husband and I are planning a 3-night trip to NOLA in late Jan. If things go as planned, we'll be arriving late afternoon/early evening on a Wednesday and leaving Saturday after breakfast/brunch.
This is not our first trip, but it is the first time we've gone with an interest in food. We're planning to stay in the Faubourg Marigny area.
I'm thinking perhaps Muriel's the first evening. Other than that, we'd like to try Commander's Palace and Cochon Butcher.
Should we do lunch, dinner, or Saturday brunch at Commander's Palace?
Where else should we go? We want to eat local stuff that NOLA is known for, and would prefer places that aren't just for tourists.
We're more or less planning on asking the servers for their recommendations everywhere. Should that work okay or are there dishes that we can't risk missing?
Any advice at all is very appreciated. Thank you!
It's (to some) less scenic than Murials but I think you'd have a better meal at either Mariza or Maurepas Foods; both in the Bywater (Mariza is probably walkable if you're in the Marigny). I mention these specifically because you're already on this side of the FQ and right now [*] they're your best bets in this neighborhood.
[*] Once Oxalis opens up -- based on what I tasted when they popped up at Cane & Table -- there'll be competition.
I love weekday lunch at Commander's. At least one of you should start with the Soup 1-1-1, demitasses of turtle soup, gumbo & their soup du jour. (probably should've taken the photo before I began to eat it)
Consider Brigtsen's for a dinner. If you go one of you should start with the "Rabbit Tenderloin with Andouille Parmesan Grits Cake, Spinach, & Creole Mustard Sauce." Oh Dear God it is so good that we learned to make the grit cake which we serve at our Mardi Gras party each year using the recipe at Chuck's gumbopages.com
I don't see po-boy or muffaletta on your list. I like Parkway poboys, but there are plenty of options.
Oysters will be plentiful and good in late January.
Thank you for the suggestions! The Soup 1-1-1 sounds perfect, and the cups look even bigger than I'd thought they might be.
We were thinking about Central Grocery for a muffaletta, but I'm open to anything. I'd kind of prefer to have a list of good places and then we'll see where we are when we get hungry.
I won't pretend to be as experienced as the locals but during a recent convention, we had a great muffaletta from Cochon Butcher at lunchtime. For breakfast, Restaurant Stanley near Jackson Square has a nice Banana Foster French Toast. Their Eggs Benedict is OK, not great, but the with fried oysters certainly adds a different (and not unpleasant) twist.
Willie Mae's Scotch House.
Tujage's (if its still there).
Middendorf’s (get the thin cut catfish)
not white tablecloth fine dining. if you want the high dollar places, other recommendations are available. most tourists will be there. but the foods still good @ those places
.. and Tipitina's for the music.
Willie Mae's is an old, old favorite of mine, but be warned the food's not the same as it was 10+ years ago. Still very good, but no one will likely ever be able to exactly duplicate what Willie Mae herownself did. The place and clientele (cops, politicos, chefs coming to pay homage) remains surprisingly faithful, though. Area is dicey, but has remained under-populated since K, so not as outright dangerous as it was in the 80's-early 2000's. In short, it's a cultural experience, more than a great meal.
Tujaques isn't going anywhere. Again, more a cultural/historical experience. Trip back to when boiled beef with horseradish sauce was more of a staple. I remember being so amazed at how different the palate was in historical country/working-class French cuisine, than what we think of today (Maylie and Esparbe Cafe and Table D'hote--cuisine time capsule from late 18th-early 19thC Gascony was a marvelous example) I like it, but it's pretty limited.
Middendorf's--really? OK, I like the old roadhouse/lakehouse restaurant thing, but it's a long drive out of NOLA and just not all that awesome, unless you happen to be up that way anyway. Would strongly recommend R&O Pizza for very casual, local seafood and ambiance. Also nice range, since there's good Italian, modified NOLA stds (Italian roast beef po-boy for one awesome example), and consistently great seafood. Don't believe the BS from that food network show that jumped the shark. Total BS.
Tip's for music, definitely. Another great uptown choice is Maple Leaf. In Marigny, roam Frenchman St. Lots of great clubs to chose. In Bywater, for light jazz, filling small plates, and a nice atmosphere if weather's good and you can tune out the hipsters is Bacchanal WIne, at Chartres and Poland.
Other recommendations given are very good, too. The biggest problem with NOLA is choosing from the vast array of restaurants.
The only advice that I give to first time visitors is not to get "stuck" in the Quarter and miss the other lovely parts of town. It sounds like that won't be an issue for y'all.
re: Plano Rose
thanks, plano. yes, we ate in the downstairs dining room at CP when we were there in September, at the best seat in the house downstairs according to our waiter, jeff. it was the ronald reagan circular booth in the corner. we had reservations to go upstairs to the garden room, but when i saw those stairs and having ms, i thought better of it. just wondered if i'd be able to access the garden room on future occasions. thanks for the info!
Agree -- don't waste dinner @ Commander's. Sunday brunch best -- check to see if husband has to wear a collar/jacket. We were talked out of Muriels by locals - said it was overpriced and not as good as it used to be. But who knows now!? You'll love the Faubour Marigny --- there's a great little hole-in-the-wall wine bar on the 2nd floor of a house there --- there's a restaurant on the bottom floor - but the funky-cool wine bar upstairs was a treat w/ an open balcony to the restaurant below -- VERY vintage, old world. Sorry - can't remember the name! There was also a yoga studio in the building, i think.
Also a nice neighborhood coffee shop -- very modern decor and popular wifi.
Cochon Butcher is the casual lunch place (Cochon the main restaurant) -- and we definitely prefer it (fantastic pork anything, roasted brussel sprouts were killer; place is way crowded, so show up early or late).
My husband and i have some huge faves in the Qtr & out:
-Irene's ---- killer softshell crab pasta dish (just get it -- it's incredible); meatball app great. Must call ahead and make a reservation -- though there are some walk-ins taken if u get in line EARLY before dinner.539 St Philip St ---- b/n Decatur & Chartres, 504-529-8811.
-THE JOINT -- for BBQ -- In the Bywater which is beside Fauberg-M. AWESOME ribs, pulled pork, cole slaw &potato salad are killer. Very casual locals hangout. Dessert looked fantastic - but we nearly exploded from dinner - no room left!
-Dante's Kitchen -- in the Garden District (if it's your first time there - take the 1-hour trolley car ride - SO beautiful). 736 Dante Street ---- Corner of Leake Ave (on Mississippi River) & Dante St --- just after St. Charles Ave bends right onto S. Carrollton Ave
Have fun! Bon appetit!
So right qbout Muriel's being overpriced and not very good. Whichever locals told you this were right on the mark.
Sounds as if you and we have similar tastes and/or experiences: we loved both Dante's Kitchen and Feelings, and i vow as god is my witness, we WILL get to Irene's next time...
If you want a romantic, small bistro (with zero pretense) experience in the quarter (but not the crazy part), I heartily recommend Sylvain at 625 Chartres.
Bob and I went there on a date night and were treated wonderfully to a lovely, reasonably-priced, creatively hearty dinner that was timed/served beautifully. I had gumbo and redfish, he had eggplant and the sausage dish. Great stuff!
You should do the Confederacy of Cruisers bike tour. Tho' I have not done the food one (i've done the other 3) their tours are a wonderful way to get to know the neighborhoods, and they all start/end in the Marigny.
http://confederacyofcruisers.com/new-.... The cocktail bike ride is a peak experience, frankly.
Also, anything montouri suggests -- particularly the bywater/marigny reccs -- I would follow.
Thank you, B & P for rocking it out wit' us at Kajun's last night. AMAZING. Barely recovering today.
We will be in touch.
The Confederacy bike tours are SO great! I heartily 2nd that rec! The guy who runs it is super hospitable and really loves Nola. We're planning to take the one that covers the history of the cocktail (or something like that) next time we go -- love the bike attachment that allows u to take alomg your mixed drink! Brilliant!
OMG, I did the C of C Cocktail tour with my bestie, and my daughter, in April and it is a peak experience, just a blast.
The bike attachment is great, but beware drinks splash all over the place so do not wear light colored pants! The drink stops are fabulous -- as is the story of NOLA & alcohol.
Lovely Lara, the guide, who also tends bar at R Bar, just holds drink in her hand, while riding, but there was no way I was trying that. Absolutely do that one - we have had three C of C tour guides in three tours and they are all great.
I think it is M, T & Friday for the cocktail tour? If you cannot do the cocktail tour the creole C of C tour with Keith is also great.